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Jargo: Teen Angst Berlin Style DVD of the Week
For those of you hoping to quickly become proficient in German slang, "Jargo" is a godsend. With constant replay, you'll soon be able to shout with precision, "I'm not a fag! I'm just going to show you where we piss." Another useful phrase you'll be able to master is, "Grow some hair on your balls before you get disrespectful."
Entertainment-wise, however, "Jargo," which was understandably never released in theaters Stateside, has a lot less going for it. Unevenly acted and abominably directed, this tale of two mismatched mates simply can't make up its mind whether it's going to be an insipid teen comedy or a despondent melodrama. It settles instead for colossal muddle.
Surprisingly, the premise is quite promising. Blond Jargo (von Jascheroff), 15, was raised in Saudi Arabia, but after his German father commits suicide jumping out of a window, his mom sweeps the boy back to Berlin. There, outside of school, the youth meets the affable hoodlum Kamil (Özdemir), a Turkish lad raised in Germany.
An odd clash of cultures quickly takes place only to be swiftly abandoned so Jargo and Kabal can rob an apartment belonging to the "Filipino cigarette mafia." This inanely staged felony is best forgotten. Even better would be not to have seen it in the first place.
Add clashes over girlfriends, drug use, Day-Glo body-paint sex, plus buddy betrayal, and you wind up with a mind-numbing feature that will have you disparaging the future of Teutonic youth.
As for Udo ("Andy Warhol's Dracula") Kier, this is hopefully his worst performance. Overacting throughout, he keeps popping up throughout the film as Jargo's dead dad to offer advice. A sample is voiced in the feature's first few minutes: "What does it take to be a man? He needs to be able to smoke and hold his liquor. [Plus he needs a] decent broad to do the housework and a best friend whose nose he can pick if he's starving."
If those sentiments don't make you cringe, "Jargo" might just be your cup of Bier.
Copyright © Brandon Judell 2006
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